“I believe that I will be well soon and return to school.”

How a student is fighting depression to return to school.

Boys in queue
UNICEF Bhutan/2021/SPelden
11 November 2021

Punakha: Karma*,17, lives with his grandparents. His parents are separated and away. Karma had to drop out of school twice. Once in 2018 and this year for not being able to cope with school.

But Karma has not given up. Not his education or his medication. He is seeking counselling and on his way to recovery from four years of fighting depression. With support from his grandparents, counsellor and doctors, Karma is not alone in his fight.  

He was 15, and in grade nine, he recalls, when it all began. Karma had frequent headaches and like many others, he resorted to taking pain killers. “But it did not help and then my eyes started hurting,” he says. “I could not sleep and eat. I often felt numb and angry without reason. I just didn’t understand what was wrong with me.”

Karma visited the hospital and learnt that he was suffering from depression. He started medication and counselling and resumed school in 2019. But a year later, he relapsed. He stayed at the hospital for two months, got better, went home and returned to the hospital a few months later.

“Knowing that I have depression was a better feeling than always wondering why I was not feeling right,” he says. “I am still on medication and my counsellor helps me cope with what I am going through.”

He practices meditation, reads books and spends time with his grandparents. “Although I am able to sleep for only a couple of hours, I feel much better now as I know how to deal with it,” he says. “With so much positivity around me, I believe that I will be well soon and return to school.”

Karma is thankful for the medication, counselling and the support of his grandparents and hopes that young people like him receive similar support. “It is important we all give counselling more importance so that more children and young people are able to access it,” he says. “Counselling helps.”

By Sonam Yangchen, UNICEF Bhutan.

*Name changed to protect the privacy of the client.

Photo used for illustration purpose only.


If you or someone you know is not feeling okay, talking to someone you trust helps.

You can call and talk to someone — without judgement — about what’s on your mind.

Call 17861294; 17609443; 17751625; 77258332 or contact the Sherig Counselling Facebook page.